WELLESLEY, Mass.-Sophomore Sarah Hills scored with just over 10 minutes to go as the Coast Guard women's soccer team gained a hard-fought tie with Wellesley in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference match-up on Tuesday afternoon. The tie was the first for Coast Guard (6-9-2, 3-4-2 NEWMAC) against Wellesley (9-7-3, 6-1-2 NEWMAC) all-time.
In the 80th minute Hills was able to send the Coast Guard bench into a frenzy when her shot made its way past sophomore goalkeeper Kat Goldsmith. Hills' sixth tally of the season. The goal tied the match at 1-1 with just 10:03 to play as freshman Alyssa Sato registered her second assist of the season.
The match was scoreless through the first half with the Blue out-shooting Coast Guard 8-2 and remained knotted until just past the midway point of the second half. It was then that Wellesley senior LJ Foster opened the scoring in the 69th minute when she connected off a pass from freshman Kyla Petrie for a 1-0 Wellesley advantage. The goal was the 10th of the season for Foster.
Coast Guard had a pair of chances to win the match in regulation but shots both by freshman Andrea Saldana and Hills were denied by Goldsmith and the game was destined for overtime.
The first overtime was a scoreless affair with Wellesley registering three shots – including two on goal, saved by junior Holly Moore – to Coast Guard's one shot.
The Bears had the first scoring chance in the second overtime when junior Lindsay Duplessis sent a shot toward the net but the chance went high and the game remained deadlocked. Coast Guard nearly won with mere seconds to go, but Hills' shot with two seconds to play went high and Coast Guard was able to secure a tie and move one step closer to clinching their first NEWMAC Tournament berth since 2003.
The Bears can clinch a spot in the NEWMAC Tournament if any one of a number of different scenarios play out. More importantly, Coast Guard still controls their own destiny, and with a win on Saturday would qualify for the post-season.
Coast Guard can lose on Saturday and still clinch a NEWMAC tournament berth if Smith (3-5-1 in the league) loses to first place Wheaton (7-1-1) OR WPI loses or ties at Mount Holyoke.
The match saw a total of 34 shots, 17 for each side, in the best showing the Bears have had against Wellesley all-time, following a string of 12 consecutive losses to the Blue.
Head coach Susan Grant was pleased with the team's overall effort, saying, "We had a solid team performance tonight against Wellesley," before continuing on to praise the defensive effort by adding, "Our defense was tenacious, led by the great performance of Holly (Moore) in goal."
With regard to the offense Grant said, "Offensively, we created many chances, which we have been missing the past few games. We worked hard as a team for 110 minutes, and that generates some good momentum going into our match against MIT on Saturday."
Moore was once again tremendous in goal for the Bears, recording 10 saves on the afternoon to move her record to 4-7-2 on the season. Goldsmith was solid in goal for Wellesley as well, compiling five saves. Coast Guard was able to hold a 4-3 advantage in corner kicks while being called for eight fouls compared to just three for Wellesley.
The brilliance of Moore cannot be overstated from today's game, "she really made some saves that were huge for us, keeping us in the game from the opening to closing whistle," said coach Grant. The 10 saves she made were just one shy of her season high of 11, recorded in a 0-0 draw against Babson on October 12th.
Coast Guard will wrap up the regular season on Saturday at 1:00 pm when they host MIT at the CGA Track and Field Complex.